St. Patty’s Day : The Backstory

Holiday - St Patrick's DayThis week, we bring you a guest blog written by Regional Marketing Specialist Tasha Kline – where she takes you back in time to showcase a little St. Patty’s Day history. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday weekend from all of your friends at BH!

You may not be Irish, but everyone has usually participated in at least a couple of St. Patty’s Day traditions over the years. It could have been following leprechaun footprints towards a pot o’ gold while in school, drinking green beer or even just wearing green the day of so you don’t get that infamous pinch.

St. Patrick’s Day is much more than just a day to wear green and party. It actually has a long history that is sometimes forgotten during the big celebration. St. Patrick’s Day is not a legal holiday here in the United States, but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating in style using some of the most popular traditions.

The go-to meal for any St. Patty’s Day celebration should be corned beef and cabbage. Although not loved by all, this is definitely a must for any Irish celebration. The dish’s origins are one of simple substitution. Irish immigrants decided to use corned beef when their traditional Irish bacon became too expensive. Thus was born corned beef and cabbage, which was reserved for special occasions.

Other must haves at any St. Patrick’s Day feast? Shamrock shakes, Irish soda bread, green desserts, Guinness and of course — green beer!

Another important tradition is the shamrock. The shamrock was meaningful to the Irish because it symbolized the rebirth of spring and the holy trinity. This has also become the unofficial symbol of St. Patrick’s Days. We’ve all gone out, or still go out in search of that elusive four-leaf clover to make a wish on.

Besides the shamrock — there is one other, smaller symbol of St. Patrick’s Day… the leprechaun. As children, we learn that leprechauns hide their ‘pots o’ gold’ at the end of rainbows. They are known to be tricky little people who will do anything to keep their gold for themselves. It is also told that by not wearing green on this holiday, those tricky little leprechauns will seek you out and give you a pinch! This is how the tradition of pinching when not wearing green started.

Parades are also huge traditions on St. Patrick’s Day…The largest parade is held in New York City every year, where the tradition actually started way back in 1762. The second largest? That parade takes place in Savannah, GA each year bringing in more than 300,000 visitors.

Additionally, many cities also participate by dyeing their rivers green. Most notable would be the Chicago River, which happened to be the first in 1962.

So this year … when you are heading out to partake in St. Patrick’s Day festivities, remember that this holiday is about more than just having a good time. It is also about traditions which date back hundreds of years. Have fun and stay safe, everyone!

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